Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Microdon spp. (Diptera: Syrphidae)

  • Gregory S. Paulson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4597

Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), despite their elaborate social organization, are plagued by a multitude of arthropods that live in their nests, from mites to members of their own family. The majority of these myrmecophilous (“ant loving”) arthropods feed upon ant brood, workers, food brought into the colony, or upon other organisms such as fungi which occur in the nest. Some of the most unusual of these myrmecophilous insects are flies of the genus Microdon (Diptera: Syrphidae). Unlike most myrmecophiles, behavioral and morphological adaptations to myrmecophily in Microdon are found only in the immature stages. Adult Microdon are typical syrphid flies that lack the usual adaptations or behavior that would integrate the fly with the habits of the ant. Instead, adult Microdonappear to associate with ants only long enough to lay eggs and will be killed and eaten by the ants if they dally too long at that task. In contrast, the slug-like larva are so highly integrated into the nest of...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Akre RD, Garnett WB, Zack RS (1988) Biology and behavior of Microdon piperi in the Pacific Northwest (Diptera: Syrphidae). J Kans Entomol Soc 61:441–452Google Scholar
  2. Garnett WB, Akre RD, Sehlke G (1985) Cocoon mimicry and predation by myrmecophilus Diptera. Fla Entomol 68:615–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Howard RW, Akre RD, Garnett WB (1990) Chemical mimicry in an obligate predator of carpenter ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann Entomol Soc Am 83:607–616Google Scholar
  4. Howard RW, Stanley-Samuelson DW, Akre RD (1990) Biosynthesis and chemical mimicry of cuticular hydrocarbons from an obligate predator, Microdon albicomatus Novak (Diptera: Syrphidae) and its ant prey, Myrmica incompleta Provancher (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J Kans Entomol Soc 63:437–443Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory S. Paulson
    • 1
  1. 1.Shippensburg UniversityPAUSA